An Unrequited Love

Leanne had never been to a cinema. In fact, she couldn’t really understand what the attraction was. Certainly there were more important things in life. Like love, for instance. Surely being in love, and dreaming of the one you loved was more worthy of one’s time. It was for her, at any rate. Leanne was in love. Oh yes. She had been since the first time she layed eyes on him, her true love. How long ago was that? She really didn’t know.

So far, nothing had come of it, though she knew it would. She had faith. It was meant to be! She stared into space and ruminated on the way things were. What she wouldn’t give…ah well, perhaps the time would come soon. She turned her attention to the customers who had just arrived. It was always so busy here. She sighed and focused on matters at hand, but he was always there. In her thoughts, and in her sight. Someday…

Kathleen was gazing dreamily at the hunk of spunk that had come in to the department store a few minutes before. What a dreamboat. She toyed with the idea of engaging him, but was jolted out of her reverie.

“Kathleen, come here please.” Arlene frowned and put her hands on her hips.

Kathleen knew that tone of voice. “Yes mam?”

“Kathleen, we need to do something about this display window. It just doesn’t have it anymore. When did you make the last changes?”

Kathleen searched her memory. “Last Wednesday, mam. We moved the…”

“Doesn’t matter. Get me the red felt decorations and some white flowers, it’ll be Valentine’s day soon enough, we might as well get in the zone.” Arlene walked away and tended to a customer, leaving Kathleen to follow her instructions.

Leanne wondered what was going on now. She wasn’t comfortable when there was new activity going on she couldn’t understand. Why couldn’t they just leave well enough alone? Didn’t they know there were more important things to think about? Like love. Love was important. Didn’t they know that? Were any of them even in love? She felt sorry for them. She was certain they didn’t possess the capacity for it that she had. If only she had the will and the courage to do something about her feelings. It was frustrating, but she had faith that one day it would all come to be.

Wait a minute. Had they just said something about Valentine’s day? Was it that time again already? That was it! Valentine’s Day! It would all come together then. She and her true love would be united once and for all. Wouldn’t that just be perfect? She imagined it in detail, willing it to be…

Across the street Arnie sat in his box office out in front of the cinema, reading the latest copy of Sports Illustrated, bored out of his mind. Slow day. Maybe if they had a better picture. But George said these were tough times, and he couldn’t afford to rent the top films. Still, you’d think he’d get something better than the latest Adam Sandler flick. He flipped the page and imagined himself behind the wheel of the shiny black Porsche in the advertisement. What he wouldn’t give. He looked up and saw some kids messing with the wooden Indian. He went out and sent them on their way.

A couple of weeks later the department store was gearing up for the final push to Valentine’s day and Leanne was in a good mood. She wondered what her true love thought of her new outfit. She hoped that she’d soon know, that fate would finally bring about the inevitable, that all of her dreams would come true. Perhaps he would bring her flowers. That would be so romantic.

On the 13th Arlene started the day by making sure everything met with her approval. She toured the store, making adjustments here and there and muttering to herself about how hard it was to get good help. These young people. They just didn’t care. In her day it had been different. Attention to detail was all, and she would never have been satisfied with just putting together a display and walking away from it as if it was good enough. No, she would scrutinize every detail until she was certain it couldn’t be any better. That was professionalism. That was pride.

She went out front to inspect the window display. It was good, but something needed changing. What could it be? Ah, that mannequin. How long had they been using that same one? Too long, she decided. She went back inside.

“Kathleen, over here please.” Arlene considered her options.

“Yes, mam?”

“Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I want a different mannequin. What do we have that we’re not using?”

“But mam, we’ve been using this one for so long…”

“Kathleen, I wasn’t asking your opinion. Get the outfit off that one and then bring me something new.”

Kathleen bit her tongue. “Yes mam, i’ll get right on it.”

She went into the window and began undressing the mannequin. Her foot caught in the draping on the floor and she tripped, knocking over the display. The head broke off and rolled out onto the shop floor. Arlene came running.

“You stupid girl! Look what you’ve done! Go and get me another one right away, i’ll clean this up.”

Kathleen looked contrite. “Yes mam, right away.”

Across the street at the cinema, Arnie was changing the movie poster in the display case. He finished up and was about to go in when he noticed something peculiar. He went in and got George.

“Hey George, you gotta see this, come out here!”

George was cranky. “What? What is it? I’m busy, can’t you see that?”

“I know, but you gotta see this, I can’t figure it out.”

The went outside and Arnie led him to the wooden Indian that was the cinema’s mascot.

“What do you make of this George?”

George looked closely. There was a drop of water coming from the Indian’s left eye.

George scratched his head. “Looks like he’s crying, eh? How strange.” He looked up at the awning. “Must be some water up there leftover from that shower last night. I guess it dripped down on him. “Hey, who put this rose in his hand?”

Arnie shrugged. “Probably some kids. It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, they’re always trying to mess with the Indian, I run them off.”

They went back inside and prepared to open for the day.

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